Blu-ray Release: Suddenly

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 16, 2012
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $15.98
Studio: HD Cinema Classics/Film Chest

Suddenly movie scene

Frank Sinatra gets his point across to Sterling Hayden in 1954's Suddenly.

Frank Sinatra (The Manchurian Candidate) gets nasty as a murderous gangster in one of his darkest film roles ever in the 1954 film noir crime drama Suddenly.

Terror comes to the sleepy small town of Suddenly, California when cold-blooded assassin John Baron (Sinatra) and his accomplices take a family hostage in their house atop a hill overlooking the local train station where the President is due to arrive as part of a whistle-stop tour. Standing between Baron and his plot to assassinate the President when he emerges from the train is the town sheriff (Sterling Hayden, The Killing), who engages in a battle of wits, wills and fists with the cunning and increasingly psychotic Baron.

Directed by Lewis Allen, Suddenly co-stars James Gleason (The Night of the Hunter) and  Nancy Gates (Some Came Running).

As Suddenly’s copyright was never renewed following its initial release, it fell into the public domain and has been widely available on DVD from a handful of distributors for years. Its release from Film Chest, transferred from original 35mm source material, represents the film’s Blu-ray debut.

But it’s not just Film Chest that’s suddenly getting a shot at Suddenly: Image Entertainment will also issue the film—taken from a 35mm print–as a Blu-ray release on December 4 for the list price of $19.98.

Apart from Film Chest offering the film as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack and Image releasing a Blu-ray-only version, the differences between the two editions can be found in the bonus features: Film Chest’s Blu-ray contains an audio commentary and liner notes by Tom Santopietro, author of the 2009 book Sinatra in Hollywood, along with a before-and-after restoration demo and a post card reproduction of the original movie poster. Image’s edition, on the other hand, features new commentaries by Frank Sinatra Jr. and USC film professor Dr. Drew Casper and the1957 short film N.Y., N.Y.: A Day in New York by director Francis Thompson.

Here’s the film’s trailer:


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.